tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC May 5, 2011 12:00am-1:00am EDT
you'll be watching tomorrow night. >> "the last word". >> set your tivos for this hour tomorrow night. foe former secretary of state condoleezza rice will be here. "rachel maddow show" is up next. >> good evening, lawrence. i am so looking forward to your condoleezza rice interview, i cannot express it. >> that makes three of us. >> tell her i said hi. thanks to you at home. when the white house announced today that they would not be releasing any photographs of osama bin laden that were taken after u.s. forces killed him on sunday, the news was received pretty positively across the political spectrum in washington. the republican chairman of the house intelligence committee is one of the few people who have actually seen any of the imagery the white house was considering releasing. his name is mike rogers. he's a republican congressman from michigan. even before the white house announcement today about the photos, congressman rogers put out a statement today urging that they not be released. he said, quote, osama bin laden is not a trophy.
he is dead. and let's now focus on continuing the fight until al qaeda has been eliminated. the risk of release outweighs the benefits. there is a real risk that releasing the photos will only serve to inflame public opinion in the middle east. republican congressman peter king, who is chair of the house homeland security committee, has been critical of president obama on practically everything related to national security. he was also the chairman who was quite unmoved by criticism that he'd be need muhammad ali inflaming anti-muslim sentiment here in the u.s. with his radically charged hearings with his committee. even that peter king in saying he disagreed with the president's decision about the photos, even peter kick said today he respected the president's decision, that it was the president's decision to make and he said that he would, quote, not oppose t.fs the one substantiative and strong objection to president obama's decision came from republican senator lindsay graham of south carolina. senator graham made this argument.
he said, quote, the whole purpose of sending our soldiers into the compound rather than an aerial bombardment was to obtain indisputable proof of bin laden's death. i know bin laden is dead. the best way to protect and defend our decisions overseas is to prove that fact to the rest of the world. i'm afraid the decision made today by president obama will unnecessarily prolong this debate. that is a, i think, a rational and well-argued statement from senator graham. the problem with that argument is that his hypothesis has been tested in the past. his argument that the u.s. should provide photos to indisputably prove that this death happened, that was the justification that george w. bush administration used when they chose to release post-death photos of saddam hussein's two sons back in 2003. >> these two individuals are particularly vicious individuals. they are now dead. we know that. they have been carefully
identified. the iraqi people are -- have been waiting for confirmation of that, and they in my view deserved having confirmation of that. >> was the release of the dead photographs of the two sons, was that confirmation for the iraqi people that they were in fact dead? here's how richard engel reported on that question for "nbc news nightly news" when the uday and kusay photos were released. one quick word of warning here, richard's report does contain shots of the fairly graphic photos in question. >> no way i'm convinced says this man. i'm 100% unconvinced. we asked others in the store to raise their hands if they were equally doubtful. these men thought the pictures, especially the one of saddam's older song uday shot in the mouth, just doesn't look right. he was known to be thin with a beard. this picture shows him with a swollen face and long beard.
people thought the photo of his brother kusay was a closer match. why didn't they take the photographs right away, asked this man, before they got all bloated? the pictures were doctored on a computer, he charges. >> doctored on a computer. if releasing gruesome photographs of dead bodies was accepted as indisputable proof that the people in those pictures are, in fact, dead, then that could be a good argument for releasing the bin laden photos now. but even eight years ago in that shop in baghdad people had enough awareness about photo shopping technology to be suspicious of any photo that proved something that they didn't want to believe for whatever reason, then the good you can accomplish by release one of these photos is diminished, and you have to weigh that diminished good against any potential bad consequences that could come from putting the photographs out. three years after the uday and kusay photo were released they did that again after they killed
zarq zarq. the iraq war with a lot of strange press conferences, a lot of strange for tv moments, whether the tearing down of the saddam hussein stature in the baghdad square or the really well choreographed tours of saddam's former palaces offered by the united states military, there have been some strange scenes out of the iraq war beamed to american televisions, but one of the strangest made-for-tv moments of the entire iraq war was this one. do you remember this visual? remember this. this was the press conference back in 2006 when the u.s. made a huge show of revealing the photo that was taken of zarqawi's face after he was killed. somewhat inexplicably officials there chose to put the close-up picture of zarqawi's dead face in an onate gold frame. it essentially had the effect of making him a much more well known figure in death than in life. the unveiling. we got him photo was followed
very shortly there after by this. >> the sign here zaid says the wedding of the martyr for the people here zarqawi is a hero who has gone to paradise. children chased away from the morning chant with stones and rocks chanting god is great. here at least zarqawi is a hereo. >> the martyr dom celebration for the previously not well known zarqawi. images released from that event also ended up doing harm. a gory cell phone video was released of that execution, featuring chants of at saddam hussein before he was hanged. here's the audio of that scene. we're not going to show you the rest of the video, but it goes
on to show saddam hussein, of course, a sunni, being hanged by shiites who are yelling sectarian things at him. when they are yelling muqtadr, that's reference to muqtada al-sadr. the release of that video was to say the least not helpful to iraq's bloody sectarian divide at the time. now for years later president obama has the ultimate trophy photo if he wants to make it that of the world's most recognizable terrorist, the man the united states has been hunting for ten years. here's how we explain to the cbs program "60 minutes" today why his decision is that the images of bin laden should not be released. >> did you see the pictures? >> yes. >> what was your reaction when you saw them? >> it was him. >> why haven't you released them? >> you know, we discussed this
internally. keep in mind that we are absolutely certain this was him. we've done dna sampling and testing and so there is no doubt that we killed osama bin laden. it is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence as a propaganda tool. you know, that's not who we are. >> that's not who we are. mr. obama went on to say we don't trot out this stuff as trophies. we don't need to spike the football. the president making essentially an ethical point of why he chose not to release those photos in saying that's not who we are, but also making a couple of strategic points. one, what he described as -- as very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head.
do not become an incitement to further violence against the united states or something to be used by propaganda by the followers of osama bin laden. but also to senator lindsay graham's criticism. that i mentioned earlier, that indisputable proof be provided of bin laden's death. mr. obama arguing today, quote, we don't think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference. there's going to be some folks who deny it. releasing a photograph, release any kind of factual evidence is not going to quell people who are invested in a conspiracy theory that serves their own purposes. this is something that we can intuitively understand. it is something that mr. obama understands personally from very, very, very recent experience in a very different context. >> for some reason there's green -- there's a green border around it that had to be photo shopped in. i'm trying to figure it out. >> this whole boarder is suspect. if you're taking a scan of something, to your point, it would be right. >> hey, listen, it may or may
not be, but certainly opens up the can of worms that there are at least questions for it. >> joining us now is p.j. crowley, the former spokesman for the united states state department. he served in that job until this past march when he resigned after having criticized the conditions of confinement of the wikileaks suspect private bradley manning. mr. crowley, pleasure to have you here. >> pleasure, rachel. >> you are intimately familiar with the players involved in the decisions. what do you think the decision making process was like on this issue of the bin laden photos? >> inside the government there's a concept of strategic communication. we know that these photographs or videos as you just detailed have power. the question is what are you communicating for, what purpose? i'm not sure that the doubters out there, there sure are some, are that large a group. what i do know is there are people who aspire to be martyrs out there. in the concept of strategic communication, you don't want to give your opposition something for free.
and the idea that releasing an iconic photo might be used as propaganda purposes might validate that martyr dom psyche in some way, i think, tilted towards the decision the president made. >> even taking into account the fact that anybody who is a doubter is not necessarily going to be convinced by further evidence, the point i was trying to make with the by certificate allegory there, what other good could it do to release the photo? >> the president hasn't foreclosed that, for example, if obama -- osama bin laden's number two al zarqawi decides to use this and deny that bin laden is dead, we have the option of refuting him for a larger purpose. we've made an intelligent decision in avoiding the shrine of bin laden. i think we're making an equally intelligent decision in releasing an iconic photo that can only be used by bin laden's supporters to promote and extoll martyr dom.
>> part of the justification i think for -- what seemed to be part of the rationale for releasing the zarqawi photographs in iraq, was very different circumstances, was not just to quell anybody that might doubt he's dead but to sort of put a head on a pike, in a way. to treat it as a trophy to create either a threatening effect or just to lord it over anybody that might support him that this can be done. it's a different form of exertion of power. >> in this case, the united states had multiple audiences convincing saddam hussein who was still alive at the time, we've got your sons and we can come after you. or convincing the iraqi people that the resistance that was occurring at that time is futile. there was a different purpose to a different audience. ordinarily one would say philosophically release everything you can unless there's a reason not to. in this case because of the unique psyche of al qaeda and
bin laden, our strategic objective is to avoid having him d o'iified in death anymore than he was already a commanding figure in life, and i think that the president made the right decision. >> secretary clinton is one of the people who we've been told who argued against releasing a photo. having worked so closely with her at the state department, again, what you know of this administration, what you describe as a philosophical orientation toward disclosure, that you put information out when you have a choice to unless there's a reason not to, i understand that as a philosophical point. i wonder if that really is the inclination. if in matters of national security you feel that the bias is really towards more information and not towards less, it feels like a pretty closed world of information for a journalist and for a bystander. >> many people said and rightfully so, that bin laden was a figure, he was a terrorist but also an idea. we are in a battle of narratives here. one of the reasons i'm concerned
about the war on terror, for example, it actually gives al qaeda something that they want. they want to be seen as holy warriors, seen like that. so we have to be intelligent in how we communicate, not so much in those committed to the al qaeda cause but those who might be susceptible, you know, to that message. i think the other point is, you know, for the most part there hasn't been a real debate in the middle east. it's remarkable as we see this transformation, al qaeda has not been a major player. bin laden has not been a major figure. most people in the middle east as i see it have said, okay, we're fine, but we're focusied n our country and our need to change the government that has been oppression us for a while. obviously he's been inserted into this transformative period, but there's no reason to make bin laden a larger figure than he already s. i think -- i think in essence since 2005, the popularity of -- the popularity of al qaeda and the visibility of bin laden have actually been
in decline, and i think the president made the right decision. >> do you think than given that argument, do you think the president was right to make the sort of formal statement he made from the white house sunday night? do you think he's right to go to ground zero tomorrow for essentially a press availability and to be seen bringing the news of bin laden's death to the place where it will have the most resonance for americans? >> there are twin audiences here. obviously sunday night at the white house he was telling the american people, he was also telling the world, this is what we've accomplished. now i think it is trying to help the american people, particularly those here in new york, come to closure about a senior seering event in our history. >> p.j. crowley, former state department spokesman, i have been an ardent follower of yours on twitter and also somebody who i have been looking forward to talking to for a lange time about these issues. you hope you come back and talk to us again. >> my pleasure. more ahead on how the bin laden news affects the debate about the afghanistan war.
about some of the political news that is getting buried perhaps deliberately in all of the wall-to-wall bin laden coverage, and also robotic exo skeletons. it's wednesday and an opportunity to talk about exo skeletons so we'll do that coming up shortly. secret is the leading brand for odor and wetness protection. [ male announcer ] if you think "heroes" are only in movies,
and now you can join with duracell to help. just buy specially-marked packs & duracell will make a battery donation to local volunteers. these days don't we all need someone to trust...? duracell. trusted everywhere. after al qaeda attacked the united states on september 11th, 2001, the united states started one war within weeks of that attack in afghanistan and another war a year and a half later in iraq.
for u.s. troops there have been two signatures wounds of the iraq and afghanistan war. the first is traumatic brain injury caused by explosions. the second is injury to the extremities, the arms and legs. the torso being protected by body armor. the head protected as much as it can be with a helmet. the extremities exposed to the possibility of small arms fire, but more often to the force of what is most likely in both wars an improvised explosive device. for the first two years the typical u.s. vehicle to transport u.s. troops in theater is a humvee. a light, thin-skinned vehicles unsuited to protecting its occupants from improvised explosive devices. it got better but it took years. it got better in 2006 when they ramped up the replacement of humvees in theater with a new vehicle invented by force of necessity. by force of what was killing and mailing u.s. troops. it was the mine resistant ambush
protected vehicle, the m-wrap, unlike the humvee an m-wrap has a v-shaped hole. there are a number of different types of m-raps now. i got to tour a whole yard of them in southern afghanistan last year. they are tough, heavy, thick-skinned vehicles designed to reflect the force of any of any blast away from its occupants. the m-wrap is a great, great advance over the humvee for u.s. troops fighting the kinds of wars they have been fighting for almost a decade now in iraq and afghanistan. the standard for them has been raised. it was a great improvement. ask them. this week boeing announced the maiden voyage of its brand new giant stealth drone called the phantom ray. this is what it looks like it. can fly at 40,000 feet, they say. they say it can fly at nearly the speed of sound, and since it's an unmanned vehicle it has no need for a pesk fragile human to be inside of it. 9/11 and post- 9/11 wars have given birth to a huge unmanned
vehicle industry where more companies than you think have competed against each other to develop 30 kinds of pilotless planes. some have stealth technology like the boeing one like the one unveiled this week and some, of course, are armed. the first drones were mounted with a single camera. the air force announced its star system will have nine cameras on it, and soon the military anticipates it will have drones fitted with 30 cameras. remember when part of the strategy in baghdad was to get biometric data on not just people who had been arrested but really on whole communities, tracking both insurgency and building up a massive database of who is who in specific parts of iraq. now what would once have just been done with plain old fingerprints and i.d. cards is instead fingerprints integrated with retinal scans, integrated also with facial recognition software. facial recognition software, they tell us, was just used to positively identify osama bin laden's body after he was killed in pakistan that. technology also now being used
for civilian purposes. we also had night vision technology before 9/11, but now we've got thermal detect night vision technology which they tell us is roughly the difference between having two cans and a string and having an iphone. companies like lockheed and raittion are developing exo skeletons for soldiers so when you do still have to use humans on the ground in situations that call for a lot of endurance or a lot of strength,ior flesh and blood human can be embodically enhanced with the exo skeleton they wear. er when rer when we breathed a sigh of relief when they sent robots into the partially melted down nuclear plant at fukushima. remember that? why do you think our robots have gotten so good over the past deck sid in the gee whiz technology after 9/11 and our two wars and massive, massive retro fitting you have of of our economy, our massive reorientation of security, it
really is a gee whiz list of inventions and technology. i'm glad this all or at least all of these things exist. i'm particularly grad for the ones that keep troops safe. i welcome our new robot over lords until they turn against us. although all this manufacturing and technology comes from a dark necessity, the post- 9/11 necessity accomplishments of our economy are an american can-do story. imagine what we can do if we can put that many resources, that much focus and intense into technology that solves needs that we have other than war and spying. joining us now is joseph stiglitz, a nobel prize winning columni columnist, author of "the three trillion dollar war, the true cost of the iraq conflict." professor stiglitz, we name-checked your book on the show last night and i jumped up and down in my office when i found out you could be on the show with us tonight. >> thank you. >> historically, what does it take for our country to reorganize its economy after being at war?
>> well the big experience we had was world war ii, and after world war ii there was a very successful transition. at that time we were making armored vehicles in detroit, and they became. we restructured that to making cars. we then had a g.i. bill so that the workers, people coming off the fields and coming off the battlefields, would be able to be productive members of the new economy that was emerging after world war ii. and finally we had demand. people who had not been able to spend all the money. they were saving. they helped finance the war. after the war they had all that savings and that created a demand for the new products that were being produced by our factories. that led to this period of prosperity that followed world
war ii. now these conditions aren't here today. rather than a g.i. bill, we're really cutting back on investments in education. the states are facing real budget constraints. universities are cutting back. so we're not really making this effort to transform our economy. >> we do have a new post-9/11 g.i. bill, but you're saying rather than ramping up overall our expectation and our facilitation of people into education, it's being depressed. >> exactly. looking at it from the overall perspective. it took a lot of fight, by the way, to get the g.i. bill for the iraqi and afghanistan. that was one of the things that we emphasized in the book. we pushed that. i think it was one of the victories that we've had that we were able to treat these new veterans as well as we treated the world war ii veterans. >> how do you think -- you wrote this thing calling iraq "the three trillion dollar war,"
which is an astonishing figure to get your head around. how do you quantify, sort of, i guess the opportunity cost of how we responded to 9/11? just how much we redirected our resources into security and spying in the wars? >> well, there are two parts to this. one is the actual budgetary costs, and those are enormous. part of the budgetary costs are the up-front costs, the soldiers, the troops, the equipment, the munitions. >> sure. >> but there's another part that was really highlighted by that clip you showed. it will cost us almost a trillion dollars to pay for the health care costs and disability payments of those coming back from iraq and afghanistan that are disabled. >> wow. >> it's an amazing number. so those are the budgetary costs. money that could have been spent by the government for strengthening our education, investing in technology. technology that would have
produced goods that really strengthened our competitiveness. the other part is the impact on our economy. that has diverted resources to war that could have been used in other ways. it had all sorts of effects. one of them was before the war the price of oil was $23 a barrel. the interruption, the chaos that we brought to the middle east, led the price of oil to start soaring after that. and that -- that had an enormous impact on our economy. one of the points i try to do in the book, this book -- what we try to do is show that connection between that and the collapse of our economy that happened in 2008. those two are very intimately connected. something that most people don't realize. what happened is the price of oil went up. the federal reserve had to lower interest rates because all that money would have been spent at
home was being spent abroad. lax regulations, and that helped feed the bubble and that bubble, of course, is what led us to the problems that we have today. >> professor joseph stiglitz, nobel prize winning economist, columbia university professor and author of "the three trillion dollar war." there have been cool r and d and innovation and manufacturing since 9/11 in the security sphere. i'm trying to think of that in a positive way about all the stuff that we can do, but your documentation of what we have spent already and how big this ship is that we need to turn around i think is clearer than anybody else's. thank you for writing this. >> thank you. >> appreciate it. if elimb nazing osama bin laden was one of the prime reasons america sent troops to afghanistan, what is the mission two days into the post-bin laden era? former republican party chairman michael steele will join me for that discussion just ahead. stay with us. ♪ i like it, uh-huh, uh-huh ♪ that's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh ♪
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michael steele will join me. the nearly ten-year long war in afghanistan started with rather extreme clarity. we knew who had perpetrated the terror attacks of september 11th. we knew where they were. we knew who their friends were and who were protecting them and we were going to get them full stop. then came more than nine years of shifting metrics and sometimes amorphous policy from washington and continued sacrifice by the american military. the obama administration has restored some clarity to the u.s. mission in afghanistan and pakistan. frankly the elimination of osama
bin laden fulfilled a good part of what they say we are doing there. if there can ever be a moment of operational clarify in which to declare victory and get out, is osama bin laden's death that moment? across the idealogical divide we'll go to find out some of the republican answer to that with former republican chairman michael steele. please stay tuned. ♪ got brass in pocket...
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in his first major interview after taking over the u.s. war effort from general mccrystal in afghanistan, general david petraeus was asked on "meet the press" last august about osama bin laden. and about the importance of the united states getting osama bin laden. and about the connection between that and the afghanistan war. >> is his capture less important today than it was? >> well, i think he remains an iconic figure. i think capturing or killing osama bin laden is still a very, very important task for all of those who are engaged in counterterrorism around the world. let's remember why we are here. we're here so that afghanistan does not once again became a sanctuary for transnational
extremists the way it was when al qaeda planned the 9/11 attacks in the kandahar area, conducted the initial training for the attackers in training camps in afghanistan before they moved on to germany and then to u.s. flight schools. the fact is that it was the taliban that allowed al qaeda to establish its bases and sanctuaries in afghanistan when it controlled a good bit of the country. that gives big pause, needless to say. that is why, again, this insurgency has to be combatted. >> general petraeus saying the point of fighting the taliban, the point of shoring up the afghan government so that what happened before 9/11 does not happen in afghanistan again. what happened before 9/11 in afghanistan is osama bin laden had protection from the taliban. he was able to set up his training camps there where al qaeda trained for and planned the 9/11 attacks. general petraeus arguing that we have to fight the taliban so bin laden can't set up those camps again. that explanation of why we're fighting the afghanistan war is
frankly consistent with what president obama has always said about it. no matter what anybody else has argued about why we are still fighting in afghanistan. almost ten years after we inindividualed president obama has pretty consistently said very narrowly and very insistently that it is about al qaeda, that it is about getting the people who attacked us on 9/11, narrowly speaking and not letting them to do it again. >> i set a goal that was narrowly defined as disrupting, dismantling and defeating al qaeda and its extremist allies. our overarching goal remains the same, to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al qaeda in pakistan and afghanistan. how does this advance america's national security interests? how does it make sure that al qaeda and its extremist allies cannot attack the united states homeland, our allies, our troops who are based in europe? that's the question that i'm constantly asking because that's the primary threat that we went were there to deal with.
our core goal is to go after the folks who killed 3,000 americans during 9/11 and who are still plotting to kill us, al qaeda, how do we dismantle them, disrupt them, destroy them. >> for all of the other conceivable reasons why we might be in afghanistan for this long, president obama has always spoken about it very narrowly about 9/11, about al qaeda. and now osama bin laden, the founder of al qaeda is dead, which is leading to and bringing to light questions like this. >> with al qaeda largely displaced from the country, the franchise in other locations, afghanistan does not carry a strategic value that justifies 100,000 american troops and a $100 billion per year cost, especially given current fiscal restraints in the united states. >> senator richard luger, republican of indiana. he is the ranking republican on the senate foreign relations committee. those were his opening remarks at a comttee hearing yesterday. he raised a similar line of critical questions about the
cost of u.s. military involvement now in libya. with all due respect to congressman ron paul, you need to know that dick luger is no ron paul. dick luger is not like the guy who's against ever war. dick luger has not been alone in raising questions about the cost in particular about the intervention in libya and whether or not that was a good idea. our past two presidential elections have largely been about democrats criticizing wars that republicans have defended. it is starting to look like it's not going to be that way this time around. joining us now is former republican national committee chairman, michael steele. mr. steele, it is great to see you again. >> great to be back with you. >> do you think that 2012 might be different in terms of war politics compared to the last time? >> i do. i think you're going to see it play out as an undercurrent in the overall debate about the cost to the american people of everything, not just the war, but the economy and gas prices. all of that's going to factor in. i think you're seeing the predicate being laid right now with the killing of osama bin
laden, senator lugar's comments today at the hearing, and the feeling amongst a lot of people, not just democrats, for example, or those who have an aspiration to end the war, but those who really look at this objectively and go, okay, mission accomplished. okay. we got the guy. the stated purpose has been obtained. one caveat, the reality that lugar points out is that they have branched out. they have moved beyond the moment base of afghanistan. as we do under the president's leadership wrap up our presence there, we have to be mindful that al qaeda is taking different shapes and forms in communities around the country. keeping in mind that the 9/11 hijackers, a group of them lived literally just 20 miles from my home in laurel, maryland, lyse leading up to the attacks on 9/11. so that mode of operation is still very much a part of their agenda. we've got to be vigilant. >> the relationship between the
threat of terrorism and war is one that i think people are getting sharper about. nobody's arguing that al qaeda's presence in somalia oremen means we should start a war in either of those countries. >> yeah. >> so when republicans talk about afghanistan, talk about the politics of this, is there a tension between the kind of argument that dick luger is making? and people like ron paul have been making, and the sort of paul wolf its, george w. bush, dick cheney make the world safe for american democracy. >> i think that's an interesting tension in the gone right now. as national chairman, i got in a little trouble by expression is a point of view on the afghan war. mine was basically wrapped around the idea of not necessarily the cost of it, but what is our strategy purpose? what is the goal and what is the road map and most especially the road map out and what do we expect to leave behind? the history there is not one where there are a lot of victors who go into afghanistan.
i think that that's part of the tension that you're going to see played out and it's going to be interesting to see how the republican candidates for the presidency juxtapose their real view on what we should be doing there against an emerging establishment gop view that we should continue to prosecute this thing all the way through. >> is that the establishment view? >> oh, absolutely. i really believe that it is. keep in mind that the other side of that is that the president basically adopted, if you want to talk about the bush doctrine, it's basically been inculcated into the obama doctrine in the strategies leading up to what we've seen get played out in afghanistan. >> increasing the number of troops in afghanistan. >> so the republican leadership bought into that early on in the obama administration backing the president, remember that time you had republicans standing with the president going we support the president. >> he's tripling the number of troops. >> now you've got that piece
>> the hunt or bin laden's over. >> obama's done the deed. what's next? >> to me what i see happening what we've been told with no change in strategy from obama, this to me buys him political capital to maybe it a steep draw i believe there will be some more than the democrats? >> maybe. you've got some hawks on the democratic side. they're quiet. >> after ten years in afghanistan, nobody's going to support that. >> this is the point. that curve is not going to be a steep one. it's going to be a gradual slide. after all you've got the leadership in afghanistan saying you really don't have to go if you don't want to. that is a reflection of back channel conversations that are saying, look, we don't really want you to leave yet.
we're not ready for you to leave yet. what are we leaving behind when we do go? a deadline is not necessarily a deadline when it comes to pulling our troops out. >> i think people are saying we'll come back if you need us, but we're happy to go. i think the decline will be steeper. than it otherwise would have been. >> we will see. >> you and i will fight about it in a friendly way. michael steele, former republican party chairman, thank you for being here. >> good to be here. tomorrow president obama will visit ground zero in new york city. that has some of his critics arguing about politics. ed schultz has some words of his own for his critics. it would be an excellent idea for you to tune in for ed after this show. coming up next on this show, a zen riddle. if two republicans indicate they're running for president while the rest of the country is involved in the killing of public enemy number one, do the republicans need to say it all over again, or were they hoping we wouldn't notice it when they said it the first time? please stay with us.
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mr. obama's former ambassador to china, john huntsman, very quietly filed paperwork to create a political action committee for himself. that's so he'll be able to travel and raise money in the lead-up to formally announcing his own run for president. mr. huntsman took that step right after the mladen news was announced knowing full well that bin laden would eclipse all other news coverage of anything else for days. why would you want to run for president without anyone noticing you were running for president? i do not know. mr. huntsman is not alone. former pennsylvania republican senator rick santorum also waited until the bin laden news dropped to announce his fec filing for his presidential race. thus guaranteeing about exactly this much coverage of him officially being in the running. for a long shot no-name recognition candidates like huntsman and santorum, what the bin laden news gave them this week was an opportunity for a soft launch of their presidential campaigns without too much pressure, without too many questions.
and you know what? it happened in congress, too. house republicans had a messaging problem all year in that their legislative agenda sometimes looked less like jobs, jobs, jobs and more like abortion, abortion, abortion. the third bill republicans filed after taking control of the house, hr-3, was a bill to raise taxes on abortion. raising taxes and abortion above all over all other priorities. not great messaging for house republicans. luckily, though, osama bin laden just got killed by a bunch of navy s.e.a.l.s, so while the media is 100% occupied with that, republicans in the house picked today to vote for their raise taxes to stop abortions bill. the one they never really wanted to talk about. which is why i just talked about it. [ man ] it's basically a computer.
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what's my function? first question, true or false. ken cuccinelli lauded as a star of the republican right, he wants to be one of osama bin laden's 72 virgins in the afterlife. as it says right here in this great piece on "huffington post" by jason linkins. he wants to be one of osama bin laden's 72 virgins. is that true or false? true, mr. cuccinelli did pretty much say that today in one of the weirdest tweets i've ever seen in my life. however, although that is pretty much what ken cuccinelli said, that is definitively not what he meant. mr. cuccinelli tweeted this today. you have to look at it. so look here. this is what he wrote. how much would i give to be one of the 72 virginans osama is hanging out with since sunday? how much would i give? i don't know. that's a strange question. directly objectively, he is
making a cultural reference to the dozens of virgins that are promised by the koran to martyrs as their reward in the afterlife. that is one of the references he's making. that's a weird thing to want to be. but the second reference he must be making, oh, please let it be he's making this reference, is to what was originally a robin williams joke. a joke in which bin laden gets to the afterlife but instead of 72 virgin he's greeted by 72 virginians who proceed to beat him up. he tried to clarify his tweet today and proceeded to make it kind of worse. he wrote, it seems some were confused by my earlier tweet. read it closely. 72 virginians, not a typo, ie, people who live in virginia. geez, you dummies, read it closely. okay, reading it closely it says 72 virginans in the first tweet which must also be a typo, only not the typo he thinks it is. yes, ken cuccinelli did tweet he would like to be one of the
virgins schtooping bin laden in hell right now. even though he wrote, that he cannot possibly have meant it. all right. next up, amid the news today that president obama decided not to release any photos of dead osama bin laden, at least three republican senators claimed today that they had seen the super secret picture. georgia senator saxby chambliss, new hampshire snorkely ayotte and massachusetts senator scott brown. >> listen, i've seen the picture. he's definitely dead and if there's any conspiracy theories out there you should put them to rest. >> even though the white house says the photos have not been released, senators including scott brown have already had it shown to them. is that true or false? false. after talking to senator brown, that same boston tv station had to publish a correction to their interview, quote, scott brown tells fox 25, the photo that i saw and that a lot of other people saw is not authentic. and that includes the photo seen by senator chambliss and senator ayott.
they both also now admit that they saw something that they thought was a dead bin laden photo but it was not the real one. it was a fake that they thought it was real but they were wrong. lastly, to help go through the trove of data collected from the bin laden compound in pakistan, the cia has put out an all call to federal agencies for arabic speakers. is that true or false? the cia has put out a help wanted ad for arabic speakers to help them go through osama bin laden's hard drive. true. they do need help. nbc news reports today that the cia is looking for arabic speakers to help them troll through the ten hard drives, five computers and more than 100 thumb drives collected from bin laden's house. that said this. isn't a call for you to grab the r rosettastone cds and run to langley. don't tell them you just downloaded word lens on your iphone. the people the cia is looking for need to be able to speak arabic and also need a special compartmented information security clearance which is beyond even top secret. and if you are watching this